The Facts About Crash Dieting for Swimsuit Season


For some of us, preparing to put that swimsuit on gets us thinking about losing those extra winter pounds that seemed to creep up on us. Anytime you can find the motivation to lose weight, it is a good time to start thinking about living a healthier life. However, a crash diet is not the way to achieve long-term weight loss.

Brittany Diehl MS, RDN, LD, registered dietitian at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center says, “Crash dieting with extreme calorie restriction, juicing, fasting or diuretics will help you lose weight from water retention in the first week, but you will not keep it off long-term without a change in overall eating habits.”

Why Your Body Doesn’t Keep Crash Diet Weight Off

The term yo-yo dieting exists because your body doesn’t respond well to short-term solutions. You may lose weight temporarily, but then regain the weight once you stop dieting.

Your body doesn’t keep the weight off for several reasons:

  1. Starving your body of food or calories can slow your metabolism. If you restrict your calories too much, your body thinks it is starving and will start to store fat rather than burn fat.
  2. The first pounds your body loses are water. Many crash diets dehydrate your body and can place stress on your heart and immune system.
  3. You won’t feel well when you starve your body. When you diet, you need to add exercise or a walking program to your routine. If you are starving your body, you probably won’t have the energy to add physical activity.

The Right Way to Get Ready for Swimsuit Season

“The best way to get ready for swimsuit season is to start early,” Brittany says. She also offers the following advice:

    1. Be realistic with your goals. Don’t start your diet two weeks before vacation. You are more likely to keep weight off if you lose one to two pounds per week.
    2. Start early. Give yourself three to four months to get ready for swimsuit season. Spring is a great time of year to set new goals. The longer days allow you to exercise outdoors, and the farmers’ markets are open for fresh fruits and vegetables.
    3. Replace starches in your diet. Substitute potatoes, pasta, rice with non-starchy vegetables and fruits.
    4. Increase water and decrease sodium. Water will help keep you hydrated and make you feel full and less sodium will help decrease water retention.
    5. Create new habits. Don’t diet, instead create new habits that could last a lifetime.

If you need help keeping your weight goals on track, talk to your primary care physician or schedule an appointment at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center by calling (859) 212-4625.